Ryder Spencer hopes to run over 200 miles this school year, and he is well on his way to reaching his goal. School has been in session for less than three months and the Sky Country 3rd-grader already has run 80 miles.
Ryder’s motivation to run is due to 100 Mile Club, a nationwide program that challenges students to run or walk 100 miles throughout the school year to increase physical fitness and practice goal-setting. “You cannot accomplish 100 miles in a day, a week, or a month,” said Jamey Bettencourt, Head Coach of Sky Country’s 100 Mile Club and district coordinator for the program. “But every single step that you take gets you toward that ultimate goal.”
This mindset, of working little by little toward a larger goal, transfers well to the classroom.
“You may not understand the concept on the very first day, and you may need to continue to work at it,” said Ms. Bettencourt, who also teaches 5th grade. “I think that's what the 100 Mile Club teaches you. You have to work a little bit every day to be able to do better and better.”
All JUSD elementary schools participate in 100 Mile Club, and each school has a track for students to complete laps during recess, physical education class, or a school-sponsored activity. Miles are tracked with an electronic system called Track The Miles, and students get excited when results are posted, revealing who is in the lead. Ryder Spencer is currently at the top of Sky Country’s leaderboard. The student in second place is 20 miles behind him.
100 Mile Club offers incentives as students strive toward their 100-mile goal. 25 miles earns a student a T-shirt, 50 a pencil, 75 a wristband, and 100 the coveted gold medal. “I’m trying to get a big collection of gold medals,” said Ryder.
The program also builds community in JUSD. Elementary schools hold monthly themed runs for all grades to participate in, bringing students together and promoting school spirit. Two JUSD high schools, Jurupa Valley and Rubidoux, also host open runs two nights each week for students and their families to run or walk together. “I've had lots of moms and dads come to me and say, you know, I've been struggling with [my health], so I'm going to run these laps as well,” said Dave Doubravsky, Assistant Superintendent of Education Services. “I'm going to increase my physical health with my kid at the same time that they're earning their miles.”
100 Mile Club is open to all students, regardless of academic status or physical ability. School supervisors and teachers are always ready to help students who need assistance. If the dirt track is not suitable, students may complete miles elsewhere on campus, such as on the playground.
“Our goals are to increase the number of miles that students run,” said Mr. Doubravsky, “thereby increasing their physical health, thereby increasing and assisting with their mental health and their student achievement.”
To learn more, please visit 100 Mile Club's website
. JUSD open runs take place at Rubidoux High School on Mondays and Wednesdays, and at Jurupa Valley High School on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 6-7 p.m.